Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

Welcome to my World---Woman, widow. senior citizen seeking to live out my days with a sense of whimsy as I search for inner peace and friendships. Jeez, that sounds like a profile on a dating app and I have zero interest in them, having lost my soul mate of 42 years. Life was good until it wasn't when my husband had a massive stroke and I spent the next 12 1/2 years as his caregiver. This blog has documented the pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties and finally, moving past it all. And now I’m ready for a new start, in a new location---a continuum care campus in West Michigan, U.S.A. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. Stick around, read a while. I'm sure we'll have things in common. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, November 30, 2019

From Christmas Movies to my Obsessions




December is fast approaching and already I’ve overdosed on Christmas movies. It’s either Hallmark or LifeTime playing in the background as I try to knock things off my various to-do lists. I’ve seen most of Hallmarks' films so many times that I can walk through the room where the TV is on and know exactly where they’re at in the formula plots and keep on going. And for me, there’s comfort and tradition in that. I can’t work with the National Geographic's, animal channel or cable news on because I’d sit right down and watch. Ditto on listening to music. Music---at least my favorite genre of country/western---brings too many memories and emotions to the surface and I get lost in the lyrics never to be seen again until my stomach says it’s time to eat. I’ve tried listening to classical music around the house but darn those music appreciation classes I took way back when my hair was still dark brown. Ever since then I feel the need to sit in a chair with my eyes shut when I put on classical music and become one with the dynamics of the pieces. I can’t work to classical music. It’s too mood altering, but ALL music starts bugging me after an hour. I'm guessing I was a tribal drummer in a past life and an EKG taken while listening to music it would probably mimic a music score proving my theory. I'm just sayin'.

The Washington Post says Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas movies "tend to transport busy corporate types from cities to deeply quaint towns where they find love or, at the very least, the spirit of Christmas.” So true, the main characters are usually facing the holidays without a significant other---or are with the wrong one---and by the end of the two hours they’ve met and fallen in love. Doesn’t matter if they’re work-alcoholics or sourpusses who hates Christmas, they find love by the 24th of December and they’ll share their first kiss in film with two minutes to go before the credits roll. Seriously? How could anyone know they’re destine for a trip to the altar if they hadn’t---shall we say---even looked in the window of the milking barn to play off the adage, “No one is going to buy the cow if you give the milk away for free.” But times are changing. In two of the new-this-year Hallmarks they allowed couples a chase kiss 3/4 of the way through the movie and at the end of one of them the couple kissed their brains out---lustful, not sweet like they usually do. It was so unusual and I swear I heard someone telling them to get a room---Oops, I guess that was me. Another thing I noticed has changed this season is an abundance of inner-racial couples at LifeTime.

I only had one gift to buy this year. One for my Gathering Girls party and I bought that before Thanksgiving. I’d tell you what I got but one of the Gathering Girls occasionally reads my blog and the party is a couple of weeks off. We have a $15 limit and a rule that it has to be consumable. It’s not that easy to buy something that is used up over time and is still a welcome gift for someone when you don’t know who the percipient will be until it gets opened. (We use a game to hand them out.) One year the diabetic got a box of chocolate. Another year I gave an assortment of teas with a gingerbread cookie mix, but I got a call afterward asking if I had the receipt for the teas so she could take them back because she only likes a certain brand. I've never liked picking out gifts for anonymous recipients. I get it wrong more often than I get it right.

Unless I get snowed in I have three Christmas parties to look forward to this year: the one mentioned above, one at with my future neighbors at the continuum care campus and one at the senior hall. The smallest one with my gal pals will be the most fun although I’m anxious to go back to the CCC to get an update on the building timeline and to ask a few questions like: Will we be able to have landlines and/or cable TV? I already know that Wi-Fi will be free and can be access from anywhere on the campus inside and out and I'm guessing I'll have to be waving goodbye to landlines and cable. Boo hoo! I don’t like using a cell phone all the time. But I'll do whatever it takes to keep that landline number I've had since the 1970s including dance naked at midnight in a snow covered cemetery.

Another question I obsess about is will our smart card keys work to unlock doors in a power outage? Supposedly, we just wear the cards and our call buttons on a lanyard and doors just automatically open in front of us like Jesus parting the Red Sea. As a person who has to check twice each night to make sure the doors are locked, I find it unsettling that I won't be able to see a lock lever from across the room clearly facing right or left. And I like keys. I e-Bayed a box of 215 keys last summer---a life time of collecting them---and I still have another 25ish skeleton keys I may keep. A key is not a piece of plastic in my world. I'm turning into one of those old fogies who back in the day didn't want those newfangled electric lights in the house! Change is hard.

It’s easier for me to worry about details like plastic keys and phone numbers instead of worrying about the big stuff like will the real estate market go soft when I need it to be hard? (I should reword that sentence; it sounds too sexual and if I get a bunch of spam for escort services I'll know the cyber crawlers found this post.) Anyway, I can't control the big stuff but I can control the details. I spent twenty years of my work life troubleshooting details of every wedding I helped to plan so on the Big Day nothing went wrong with my end of the event, right down to carrying smelling salts to revive fainting brides. So don’t expect me to chill out any time soon. “Details” is my middle name. ©

See the difference between the Hallmark Movies at the top and these from LifeTime at the bottom?

24 comments:

  1. I have a home phone that works over the internet. Check out Ooma. I transferred my home phone number when I started with Ooma. I also have a cell phone that I can use for the few times the internet is down.

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    1. Thank your for the tip! I get my landline phone from my cable company now and it goes down with my internet so I'm already used to that. I just don't know how you get internet and TV without cable connections. One of the other future residents told me we'll get them through Wi-Fi. If true, I'll need new TVs because mine are not smart TVs.

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    2. Jean, you can make your dumb TV a smart TV if it has a USB port; you just plug in a streaming device (e.g., Roku or Amazon Fire TV or Apple TV) which enables the TV to connect to the internet via your WiFi. There are some channels that are free with the streaming device, and you can buy subscriptions to others that you want. It's usually less expensive than cable (and you are less likely to end up with 80 channels you never watch in order to get the 8 you watch regularly!).

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    3. Jean P. That's wonderful information! I just checked my biggest and best TV and it does have a USB port. The other two are too high for me to check so I'll have to dig out my manuals. But one of the is 15 years old so I'm guessing that one won't have it. I didn't know connecting a TV to the internet could be so simple! Cable TV is ridiculously expensive. Thanks.

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  2. Christmas Hallmark movies are my guilty pleasure although I sometimes turn them off when they get too schmaltzy. I have noticed a gradual cultural shift also. Recently I was surprised when a young mom stated that she had never been married. - Turns out she had adopted a foster child. Not as big a change as I had originally thought!

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    1. I have been known to bounce back and forth between a Christmas movie and CNN. I would have been surprised by the never married mom, too. I've also noticed this year more characters are wearing coats in the snow which has always been my biggest criticism. Now if they'd jut get the ladies out of their high heels and into a pair of boots, I'd be happy.

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  3. I had to laugh when I read your comment about the characters needing to gst a room. I dislike all the noisy kissing/implied sex. I am not a prude, just think they are trying to appeal to a generation who never heard of movies having a plot. I do have a good collection of old movies and enjoy those. At least I don't have to listen to sucking sounds. I do not have cable tv, nor any tv, for that matter. Its bad enough to have internet. Too much news will tilt your brain.
    I can't believe that woman wanted the receipt to switch teas! What she really wanted was a refund. I would have to think very hard to choose a gift that would fit those parameters. Gift card?
    Sounds like a fun party.
    I have a huge fear of being trapped because of the auto keys. It's irrational, but I wouldn't be able to stay in a place like that. Maybe there is another way to get out if things go wrong? I do. But then, I am weird about a lot of things.

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    1. Okay, now I know what is wrong with me...too much news has tilted my brain. LOL

      I was shocked at her asking to return the tea. That year we only had a $10 limit so it wasn't a big deal. I would have just re-gifted it. I don't like giving gift cards. I do it sometimes but it seem too cold and impersonal.

      The automatic door opening feature is not that uncommon, I don't think. I toured two very new CCC places that had them. I'm guessing they have a back up. The CCC where I'm moving will have a back up generator that will run one light, the heat and the refrigerator in each unit during power outrages---one of the reasons I like about it. I'm assuming if they put that kind of lock system in buildings that there's got to be a backup system.

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  4. So far Jean, I've already watched 25 Christmas movies up to date. I cry at the end of each one of them. I'm just a big cry baby. I don't why I feel so Christmasy. I smile every day and I can't wait till Christmas Day. Mary Lou asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I told her that I've got everything that wanted or needed. Finally I said to her, Mary Lou just get me something small that is under the tree. Really doesn't matter. I've got her and my children and after Christmas I still have my cruise. What else do I need. Life is good to me See ya my friend.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. You are blessed with a grateful heart. That's a wonderful way to be, Paul. Personally, I think having that Italian blood in your veins adds to that. My dad and all his uncles were the same way...always happy, always grateful for what they had.

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  5. Good thing you didn't tell Jean. :) BL

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  6. The writing in this post made me smile. Andy and I visited an assisted living facility last week and I was horrified they had cable TV but no WiFi in the rooms. (Then I realized I could get my own hot spot through Verizon. They would let us pay for a landline in our room.) I have a couple of Roku devices that I connect to my TV and stream movies and other programs via WiFi. We don't have TV here any more -- our management tore down the antenna that was on the roof since 1974 -- but I think if I cared I could subscribe to some apps and stream TV programs.

    Please let us know what you find out.

    I sympathize with your having to buy a present when you don't know the recipient. That was rude of the gal who wanted the receipt. :(

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    1. I liked it better when there were three networks and everyone could get TV and radio signals for free without having to take a tech course on all the sticks, apps, hot spots, and steaming stuff out there. All three of my TVs are dump aka pre-Wi-Fi. It kills me that I'll have to replace perfectly working TVs. When I go to media recycling---and I was just here this week---they have a couple of dozen TVs sitting there. Just sad!

      I have gotten many gifts I couldn't use/didn't want back when I was in the Red Hats and I just sent the stuff off to Goodwill.

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  7. Sometimes I hate myself for enjoying Hallmark Christmas movies. The rest, not so much. Not the Valentines or Summer ones. But the Christmas ones are like a gentle balm, and yes, you can come in anytime and get the gist of it (usually when you've seen them but equally usually when you haven't!) I swear I should write one. I've studied the formula and I have the timing down, right to the almost-kisses and the return of the old boyfriend or big decision to the final smooch. Yes, I watch too much.

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    1. Oh, yes, the old boyfriend is a popular theme creates automatic tension. I think part of their appeal is that we think we could write them. And of all the guilty pleasures one could find in this world, why do we think we need to hide or be ashamed of binging on Hallmark Christmas movies? You and I both do your share of studying and reading heavier topics yet every year there is a part of me that feels the social pressure to be spending my time reading something like 'War & Peace' or 'Moby Dick' instead. Okay, I need to step off my soap box. LOL

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  8. The Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movies are a pleasure to lots of people. They remind me of Harlequin Romances--formulaic and predictable and the same story just in different settings. I think the familiarity is what a lot of people like about them.

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    1. Exactly like the old Harlequins and if we really need an excuse for liking them they keep a lot of people in the franchise employed. LOL

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  9. I can really relate to your attention to detail. And a planned move makes it crazier for me. My DH says I have about 4000 tabs open on my browser and he's not wrong. :) The smart cards would worry me, as we lose power off and on in bad weather, but I am sure you're right about the generator backup powering that system.

    We have an antenna for local channels and an Apple TV. Our new location will have cable options, but honestly, we have a tendency to sit in front of the TV more than need be with cable. So how this all works out remains to be seen.

    I haven't seen any Christmas movies yet, but I feel no guilt when I sink into easy TV to relax. I mean, honestly, what good is retirement if we can't choose our guilty pleasures. LOL.

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    1. The details can drive you crazy, can't they. The smart card locks have got to work in power outages. Too many office building have them and the fire codes would never allow something that locks people in our out in power outages. That's my theory but I plan to ask.

      TV is my guilty pleasure, my life-time companion and I'm not going to apology for that any longer. LOL My brother lives in a town south and east of you (near M-37)and he has a similar setup as you have and is happy with it. I'm hoping the CCC will give a class on all the tech/TV/phone issues we'll have for choices. I'm betting they will. I'm going to suggest it.

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    2. DH just had a conversation with the electrical guy for this builder, and apparently the antenna setup (in the attic...they don't want them on the roofs) doesn't work well, and we'll also be farther out. So I hope it works, but I won't be surprised if it doesn't. We are currently using AT&T Uverse for Wifi and phone, but I'm not certain they are out in that area. It's just a LOT of details, isn't it? (We are probably not far from your brother based on that description.) :-)

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    3. Back to the '50s when all the churchy people put their antennas in the attic so the neighbors didn't know they had a TV. LOL

      Too many details just to get what used to be free. I miss the simplicity of only three channels.

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  10. This is the first year I've watched the Christmas movies on Halllmark. Now I'm sort of addicted -- well, not that bad, but I see the appeal. The stories are silly and hopelessly wholesome but I need a shot of wholesome these days. Most of all I love the over-the-top Christmas decorating and sets. So beautiful. It's mindless, relaxing, and entertaining. Falalalala.

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    1. I love the over-the-top Christmas decorating too but as an x-florist I make a lot of fun over how portray professional decorators. They'd all go broke in real life with the way they approach their jobs.

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